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A Different Youth Development

Published on May 28, 2024

Scott Barkley

Kevin Cates used to have a different relationship with his Savior. He also had a different relationship with the students he taught and athletes he coached.

Everything changed when he got involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“I was always driven in an unhealthy way to be the best I could be,” said Cates, who now represents FCA in Cheyenne, Wyo. and throughout Laramie County. That drive he mentioned manifested itself in the classroom as a teacher, as a coach, as well as in his faith.

“I grew up in a stern but loving home,” said Cates, who grew up in Cheyenne. “I heard stories in the Bible but didn’t read them for myself. So, I was legalistic and very judgmental.”

When he started teaching and coaching, a drive to please compelled his competitive streak.

“I was very spiritually underdeveloped until later in my career,” he said. “Competitiveness can become a negative thing when you get frustrated about how your players don’t perform. A lot of that frustration would come out of me.”

Things began to change when he played a round of golf with an FCA staff member.

“He started telling me about FCA and asked if anyone would bed4yQQNCA interested in starting a Huddle at the school where I taught, and on the way home, I heard God say, ‘It’s you,’” Cates remembered.

Cates obeyed the calling and started the Huddle. For the following 23 years, he served as Huddle Leader at the junior high and high school levels. Scripture became a bigger influence in his life. FCA played a huge role.

“In 2005 I was asked by the then-state director, Ernie Mecca, to come to FCA Camp,” he said. “I started going to coaches Bible studies and realized these people were different. The salvation message became clear.”

Getting involved in FCA and seeing its impact on athletes’ lives changed his life too.

“I coached at camp on and off for 10 years and saw my kids commit their lives to Christ. I saw the impact on them and the impact they had on other kids at my school. It made me want to work with FCA, because I saw FCA meet those kids where they’re at in a way I’d never seen before.”

Those experiences brought a new way to look at life for the basketball and football coach.

“Early in your career, you’re doing it for yourself. At least, I was,” Cates said. “I wanted to be a teacher and coach more for my own benefit. But then in seeing God’s plan and purpose for my life, it made me want to focus more on developing kids into young men and women.”

His 32-year teaching career came to an end when he retired in June 2021. But a seed to stay involved with youth development had been planted.

“I knew I wasn’t done,” said Cates. “I love kids and love teaching but wanted to serve somewhere else.”

One week after laying down his dry erase marker, Cates picked up fundraising efforts to support the FCA position in the Cheyenne-Laramie County area that had been open since COVID. This summer desire became a reality in him joining FCA staff full-time.

“I’ve been in this community for 51 years now. I know everybody. I know the coaches. I think of all those times before and realize I didn’t have a clear path,” Cates shared.

Now, looking at where his journey has led and landing with FCA, his path is very clear.

Learn more and support Kevin Cates and his ministry in Cheyenne Laramie County. Learn how you can get involved, start a Huddle and impact your community: contact your local FCA staff here.